I hated my body and didn’t want to be in it – Aimee Lou Wood

Aimee Lou Wood has spoken about struggling with body dysmorphia, saying there was a time when “I hated my body and didn’t want to be in it”.

The 29-year-old actress rose to fame starring as Aimee Gibbs in Netflix’s Sex Education, a role for which she received a Bafta for Best Female Comedy.

At the Harper’s Bazaar International Women’s Day event on Thursday, Wood spoke candidly about her relationship with her body, saying, “My past with eating disorders and body dysmorphia, I felt like a floating head.

Sex Education Season Two World Premiere – London

Wood won a Bafta for her performance in Sex Education (Ian West/PA)

“I hated my body and didn’t want to be in it – that’s not the case now, thank God.

“But when you go to drama school, it can get even worse. I have scoliosis, so neutral for me is not neutral for everyone.

“You go to drama school and everyone is put on the straight and narrow. It’s not easy to hear that you’re moving wrong – it’s basically a tirade on your body.

Speaking at the Connaught in London alongside author Naomi Alderman and MP Tulip Siddiq, the Stockport-born Wood also admitted it was a relief not to feel like a “fashion model” while working on her recent film Living.

Speaking of her experience working with British costume designer Sandy Powell on the set of the film, which also stars Bill Nighy, Wood said: “I’ve had a lot of horrible experiences with costume designers because people forget you’re a person with feelings. .” and not a mannequin.

“One said I had to eat radishes to fit into jeans again… Sandy (Powell) is one of the best costume designers there is. She saw me in real life and worked it around me.

“She asked me what I thought Margaret (Wood’s character in Living) would wear. She tried not to make me fit into how she saw her.

“How on earth can you be the wrong shape and size when the character is you?”

Following the success of Sex Education, which also stars Bafta Rising Star winner Emma Mackey and soon-to-be Time Lord Ncuti Gatwa, Wood admitted she found the show’s popularity “very overwhelming”.

“It’s unreal how quickly my life changed,” she said.

“We had no idea it would become as massive as it was. It was quite a shock for all of us.

“You walk down the street and suddenly your face is familiar.

“Great things came out of it, but it had a real effect on my mental health – I became a recluse, because most of the actors aren’t famous. Now I’m really starting to enjoy it.”

She added, “People don’t see you as a person who might be going through their own stuff — they think of you as a novelty.”

On her latest project, starring as Sally Bowles in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club at London’s Playhouse Theatre, Wood said: “My friends and my family all know that this has meant the most to me in my career. .

“I think people would be surprised at what we as actors think is deepest. Sally was very personal to me. It was something I had an intention of playing that role since I was 10.

She added, “Connecting back to the real Sally Bowles, knowing she wasn’t perfect helped me.”

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